Lola’s Secret

Shortlisted for General Fiction Book of the Year in the 2012 Australian Book Industry Awards.

Magic can happen in every family

American cover

At the Valley View Motel in South Australia’s picturesque Clare Valley, eighty-four-year-old Lola Quinlan is up to her usual mischief. She’s sent her family away for Christmas and invited a number of mystery guests to come and stay. But who are all these people, and why aren’t they spending the festive season with their own loved ones?

As the big day draws closer and Lola’s personal family dramas threaten to unravel her plans, she discovers that at a special time of year, magic can happen in every family – especially your own.

From the bestselling author of The Alphabet Sisters comes a funny, sad and moving novel about memories and moments and the very meaning of life.


‘The book is hugely entertaining but also reminds us of the importance of thinking of others as McInerney draws beautiful and very convincing portraits of characters either depleted by the demands of modern life, desperately lonely or in need… But the best thing about this book is its sense of humour. Lola has a wacky sense of style and a shameless tongue. Her advice to her shy juniors will have readers blushing and her unorthodox approach to family problems will have them in stitches. McInerney is the mistress of the plot and weaves about five into this fine textured read.’
Sunday Tasmanian (Australia) September 2011

‘This delightful story explores the lives and problems of Lola’s family and those of her would-be guests. Once again McInerney delivers well-written dialogue and a refreshing storyline which is what we have come to expect from this talented teller of tales.’
Launceston Examiner (Australia) September 2011

‘A delicate treat… Lola’s Secret is a lovely, gentle story of a family, a Christmas, love and different kinds of adventure.’
Courier Mail (Australia) October 2011

‘Every now and then a book comes along that stops you in your tracks and makes you think about an event in your own life. This particular story does just that, encouraging you to think about how you treat your nearest and dearest. A master of her genre, McInerney invites you into this charming and addictive tale of love and family values. A whole cast of characters present themselves, from a tormented teenager struggling to deal with the death of her mother and the re-invention of her father, to a young mother trying desperately, but not easily, to adore her new babies whilst outdoing her sister in the constant competition between them for a perfect marriage. In the midst of all this enters the loveable Lola, a comical 84-year-old Irish woman who has spent most of her life in Australia, trying to ensure her family are at peace with each other as Christmas draws closer, whilst coming to terms with the fact that ageing is a challenge she enjoys, but cannot always control. Lola’s Secret encourages us all to see the potential in chance meetings. Prepare yourself for a rollercoaster of wit, wisdom and wondering, what if?’
U Magazine (Ireland) October 2011

‘A moving and mostly gentle tale about age, family, love, loss and secrets… As each strand of the story is secured and resolved, the message is about the priority of family and the power of love…In Lola’s Secret, as in her other novels, McInerney’s aim is unerringly true.’
Weekend Gold Coast Bulletin (Australia) October 2011

‘McInerney’s cast of a thousand chatty voices is etched effortlessly and resonantly by the end of chapter two and has been described as “comfort reading” and “warm buttered toast”. Except McInerney’s protagonist is no pushover and there are no honey-dripped endings. This is full of grains of truth: it is never too late to live, but you are never too old to learn.’
Australian Women’s Weekly, November 2011

‘A charming, witty novel in which Monica’s assured writing sparkles and which, when you reach the end, will leave you feeling like you’ve been given a huge, warm hug. Some novels are simply very special. This is one of those novels.’
Hello! (UK and Ireland) October 2011

‘Focusing on the importance of family and the meaning of life, this is a funny and moving novel from a great storyteller. It’s a book for often neglected readers, older women.’
Illawarra Mercury (Australia) November 2011

‘In true McInerney style, family values win through and we can’t help but feel better for accompanying the characters on their journey.’
Launceston Examiner (Australia) November 2011

‘The location is South Australia’s Clare Valley, replete with characters who vex and charm us…. Hours of pure delight.’
Australian Coast to Coast Country Style, November 2011

‘A warm tale of family, of friendship and of acceptance of the past. Each character is cleverly wrought and although Lola is the glue that binds the story, the individual trials and dramas of the other characters are also well developed. There are tears along the way but ultimately this is a feel-good book as the characters work through issues and events which will be familiar to most readers. Moving.’, January 2012

‘Exploring universal family issues of loss, rivalry, ageing and grief, this is a warm, witty and moving novel.’
Woman’s Day (Australia) January 2012

Audio Book

An audio edition of Lola’s Secret is available from Bolinda.
Listen to a sample.